When craps players learn the basics of how to play craps online or offline, they’re taught that the time to make a pass line bet is on the comeout roll. If it’s not the comeout, you can bet on come instead, with the same basic odds and gameplay.

But what if you bet on the pass line and it’s not the comeout? Will the casino still accept your bet? Yes it will. A pass bet made on a roll other than the comeout is called a “put bet.”

WHAT IS A PUT BET IN CRAPS?

Put bets usually are a bad deal for players, but under certain conditions involving backing your wagers with free odds, put bets can be a viable way to play.

The reason they’re bad bets is because they’re made after the comeout, so there is no initial roll with eight ways to win and only four ways to lose. On a regular pass bet, you win on the comeout if the shooter rolls any of the six ways to roll 7 or two ways to roll 11, and lose only on the one way to roll 2, one way to roll 12 and two ways to roll 3.

Instead, the put bettor jumps into the action after a point has been established. You win if the shooter rolls your number again, and lose if he rolls a 7 first.

CRAPS PUT BETS HOUSE EDGE

The house has an edge on every point number. There are six ways to roll a 7 and only five ways to roll a 6, so if the point is 6 and you make a put bet, you’re a 6-5 underdog. Similarly, you’re a 6-5 underdog if the point is 8, 3-2 underdog if the point is 5 or 9 and 2-1 underdog if the point is 4 or 10.

Like pass bets, put bets pay even money. You’re being paid less than the true craps odds of winning, so the house edge on a put bet is 9.1 percent on 6 or 8, 20 percent on 5 or 9 and a whopping 33.3 percent on 4 or 10.

The lack of a comeout roll makes an enormous difference. If you bet pass before the comeout, the house edge is only 1.41 percent. With options such as 1.41 percent on come or 1.52 percent on place bets on 6 or 8, put bets usually are wagers to avoid, with four of the numbers even worse than the 16.67 percent edge on any 7.

However, you can back put bets with free odds just like you can take free odds on pass bets.

Free odds are secondary wagers made after a point has been established, and they are paid at true odds. Instead of being paid even money as on your pass or put bet, winning free odds bets are paid 6-5 if the point is 6 or 8, 3-2 if the point is 5 or 9 and 2-1 if the point is 4 or 10.

Let’s look at what that does and imagine you bet $5 in free odds on 6 a total of 11 times, and the dice come up in the normal proportions of six 7s and five 6s.

Your total risk is $55. On each of your five wins, you keep your $5 bet and get $6 in winnings. That’s $11 on your side of the table five times, so at the end of the trial you still have $55. There is no edge to the house.

The size of the free odds wager permitted varies from casino to casino. A dwindling few allow a free odds bet equal to your pass, come or put bet. Others allow your free odds to be twice your original bet, some allow three times, and it’s not rare to see five times, 10 times and sometimes even 100 times.

For a put bettor, it means you can choose your number, playing 6s and 8s while skipping the higher house edge numbers, and also put large proportions of your wager in free odds.

That doesn’t help a lot with relatively little in free odds. At low odds multiples, you’d be better off making a place bet on 6 or 8. Winners on those bets pay at 7-6 odds and have a house edge of 1.52 percent.

However, let’s look at what happens with 5x odds – that is, when your odds bet is five times your put bet.

Now on the same 11 rolls where 7 comes up six times and 6 comes up five times, you risk $30 per roll with $5 on put and $25 in odds. That’s a total risk of $330.

On each of the five winning rolls, you keep your $30 in wagers, get $5 in winnings on the put bet and $30 in winnings on your odds. That’s a total of $65 on your side of the table per win, and with five wins you have $325 of your original $330 at the end of the trial.

Divide the $5 kept by the house by $330 in wagers, the multiply by 100 to convert to percent, and you get 1.52 percent – the exact same house edge as on place bets on 6 or 8.

That’s the break-even point for put bets on 6 or 8 vs. place bets. With 5x odds, you’re getting as good a deal on place as on put. With more free odds, the balance shifts in favor of put plus odds. With 10x odds, for example, the house edge on a put-plus-odds combo drops to 0.83 percent.

With the other place numbers, the tipping point is at 4x odds. When your odds bet is four times your put bet, the house edges are 4 percent on 5 or 9 and 6.67 percent on 4 or 10. Those are the same as the house edges on place bets on those numbers, though neither place nor put-plus-odds is as good a deal as when the points are 6 or 8.

Do keep in mind that even on 6 or 8, getting the house edge as low as place bets requires wagers well above table minimums. Don’t overbet your bankroll and risk money you can’t afford to lose. If you wouldn’t normally bet enough to back a put bet with 5x odds or more, stick to smaller bets on pass, come or place bets.

About the Author
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For nearly 25 years, John Grochowski has been one of the most prolific gaming writers in the United States. He’s been ranked ninth by GamblingSites.com among the top 11 gambling experts at GamblingSites and his Video Poker Answer Book was ranked eighth among the best gambling books of all time.

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